Social communication disorder (SCD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that includes communication difficulties. Literature linking SCD and addictions is scarce, and there are only a few case reports regarding the co-occurrence of addiction and autism disorder spectrum, and only one of them addressed behavioural addictions.
We report MC’s case, who displayed an SCD and sexual addiction (SA). Clinical and neuropsychological evaluations suggested an alteration of social cognition, especially of affective theory of mind. This article also presents the adaptation made of the usual treatment.
This case report illustrates the importance of social cognition abilities in the development and maintenance of behavioural addictions, and specifically SA. It also highlights the possible comorbidity of these two disorders and the possibility to work on social cognition as an alternate therapy in the treatment of behavioural addictions.
The co-occurrence of SCD and a behavioural addiction triggered clinical adaptations and implications that may affect a patient’s treatment presenting one of these disorders.
Problem gambling is characterized by high stigma and self-stigma, making relevant measurement of the burden of the disorder complex. The aim of our qualitative study was to describe health-related quality of life (HRQOL) impacted by problem gambling from the patients’ perspective.
Thematic content analysis identified three stable classes. Class 1 contained the interviewers’ speech. Class 3 was composed of the vocabulary related to gambling practice, games and gambling venues (casino, horse betting, etc.). Class 2 described the core of impact of gambling on quality of life and corresponded to 43% of the analyzed elementary context units. This analysis revealed seven key domains of impact of problem gambling: loneliness, financial pressure, relationships deterioration, feeling of incomprehension, preoccupation with gambling, negative emotions, and avoidance of helping relationships.
We identified, beyond objective damage, the subjective distress felt by problem gamblers over the course of the disorder and in the helping process, marked in particular by stigma and self-stigma. Four impacted HRQOL areas were new and gambling-specific: loneliness, feeling of incomprehension, avoidance of helping relationships, and preoccupation with gambling. These results support the relevance of developing, in a next step, a specific HRQOL scale in the context of gambling.
Research on sexual addiction flourished during the last decade, promoted by the development of an increased number of online sexual activities. Despite the accumulation of studies, however, evidence collected in clinical samples of treatment-seeking people remains scarce. The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics (socio-demographics, sexual habits, and comorbidities) of self-identified “sexual addicts.”
The sample was composed of 72 patients who consulted an outpatient treatment center regarding their sexual behaviors. Data were collected through a combination of structured interviewing and self-report measures.
Most patients were males (94.4%) aged 20–76 years (mean 40.3 ± 10.9). Endorsement of sexual addiction diagnosis varied from 56.9% to 95.8% depending on the criteria used. The sexual behaviors reported to have the highest degree of functional impairment were having multiple sexual partners (56%), having unprotected sexual intercourse (51.9%), and using cybersex (43.6%). Ninety percent of patients endorsed a comorbid psychiatric diagnosis, and 60.6% presented at least one paraphilia.
Results showed highly different profiles in terms of sexual preferences and behaviors, as well as comorbidities involved. These findings highlight the need to develop tailored psychotherapeutic interventions by taking into account the complexity and heterogeneity of the disorder.
Gambling disorder is characterized by problematic gambling behavior that causes significant problems and distress. This study aimed to develop and validate a predictive model for screening online problem gamblers based on players' account data.
Two random samples of French online gamblers in skill-based (poker, horse race betting and sports betting, n = 8,172) and pure chance games (scratch games and lotteries, n = 5,404) answered an online survey and gambling tracking data were retrospectively collected for the participants. The survey included age and gender, gambling habits, and the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI). We used machine learning algorithms to predict the PGSI categories with gambling tracking data. We internally validated the prediction models in a leave-out sample.
When predicting gambling problems binary based on each PGSI threshold (1 for low-risk gambling, 5 for moderate-risk gambling and 8 for problem gambling), the predictive performances were good for the model for skill-based games (AUROCs from 0.72 to 0.82), but moderate for the model for pure chance games (AUROCs from 0.63 to 0.76, with wide confidence intervals) due to the lower frequency of problem gambling in this sample. When predicting the four PGSI categories altogether, performances were good for identifying extreme categories (non-problem and problem gamblers) but poorer for intermediate categories (low-risk and moderate-risk gamblers), whatever the type of game.
We developed an algorithm for screening online problem gamblers, excluding online casino gamblers, that could enable the setting of prevention measures for the most vulnerable gamblers.
Blaszczynski and Nower (2002) conceptualized their Pathways Model by postulating the existence of three subtypes of problem gamblers who share common characteristics, but also present specific ones.
This study investigated how the psychological mechanisms postulated in the Pathways Model predict clinical status in a sample that combined treatment-seeking gamblers (n = 59) and non-problematic community gamblers (n = 107). To test the Pathways Model, we computed a hierarchic logistic regression in which variables associated with each postulated pathway were entered sequentially to predict the status of the treatment-seeking gambler. Self-report questionnaires measured gambling-related cognitions, alexithymia, emotional reactivity, emotion regulation strategies and impulsivity. Behavioural tasks measured gambling persistence (slot machine task), decision-making under uncertainty (Iowa Gambling Task) and decision-making under risk (Game of Dice Task).
We showed that specific factors theorized as underlying mechanisms for each pathway predicted the status of clinical gambler. For each pathway, significant predictors included gambling-related cognitive distortions and behaviourally measured gambling persistence (behaviourally conditioned pathway), emotional reactivity and emotion regulation strategies (emotionally vulnerable pathway), and lack of premeditation impulsivity facet (impulsivist-antisocial pathway).
Discussion and conclusions
Our study adds to the body of literature confirming the validity of the Pathways Model and hold important implications in terms of assessment and treatment of problem gambling. In particular, a standardized assessment based on the Pathways Model should promote individualized treatment strategies to allow clinicians to take into account the high heterogeneity that characterizes gambling disorder.
Craving is a core symptom of addictive disorders, such as pathological gambling for example. Over the last decade, several studies have assessed the efficacy of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in the addiction field, which triggers the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) to decrease craving. The STIMJEU study investigated whether a single session of low-frequency (LF, i.e., 1 Hz) rTMS applied to the right DLPFC reduced cue-induced gambling craving in a sample of treatment-seeking pathological gamblers.
Thirty patients received both active and sham rTMS in random order and were blinded to the condition in a within-subject crossover design. Outcome measures included self-reported gambling craving (Visual Analog Scale and Gambling Craving Scale) and physiological measures (heart rate and blood pressure).
The rTMS sessions were associated with a significant decrease in the gambling urge, regardless of whether the session was active or sham. When controlling cue-induced craving levels, no effects were observed on craving for active rTMS. Overall, rTMS was well-tolerated, and the credibility of the sham procedure was assessed and appeared to be appropriate.
We failed to demonstrate the specific efficacy of one session of LF rTMS to decrease cue-induced craving in pathological gamblers. A strong placebo-effect and rTMS parameters may partly explain these results. Yet, we are convinced that rTMS remains a promising therapeutic method. Further studies are required to examine its potential effect.
The primary outcome of our study was to assess the links between the level of cognitive distortions and the severity of gambling disorder. We also aimed at assessing the links between patient gambling trajectories and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Materials and methods
The study population (n = 628) was comprised of problem and non-problem gamblers of both sexes between 18 and 65 years of age, who reported gambling on at least one occasion during the previous year. Data encompassed socio-demographic characteristics, gambling habits, the South Oaks Gambling Screen, the Gambling Attitudes and Beliefs Survey – 23, the Wender Utah Rating Scale – Child, and the Adult ADHD Self-report Scale.
The cognitive distortions with the greatest correlation to the severity of gambling disorder were the “Chasing” and “Emotions.” These two dimensions were able to distinguish between problem gamblers seeking treatment or not. While age of onset of gambling and length of gambling practice were not associated with the level of distorted cognitions, a period of abstinence of at least 1 month was associated with a lower level of distorted cognitions. The presence of ADHD resulted in a higher level of distorted cognitions.
Cognitive work is essential to the prevention, and the treatment, of pathological gambling, especially with respect to emotional biases and chasing behavior. The instauration of an abstinence period of at least 1 month under medical supervision could be a promising therapeutic lead for reducing gambling-related erroneous thoughts and for improving care strategies of pathological gamblers.
Since June 2018, gaming disorder (GD) has been recognized as a disease. It is frequently associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as there are common vulnerability factors and bidirectional interactions between the two disorders. This study aims to evaluate the presence of ADHD symptoms and predictive factors of ADHD among patients with GD.
Ninety-seven patients ≥16 years old referred to the University Hospital of Nantes between 2012 and 2020 for GD were included. The diagnosis of GD was given a posteriori in accordance with the new ICD-11 GD definition. ADHD was screened using the Adult-ADHD Self-Report Scale and the Wender-Utah Rating Scale. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to identify explanatory factors for ADHD-GD comorbidity.
The rate of GD patients who screened positive for ADHD was 39%. Predictive factors of ADHD-GD comorbidity were impulsivity (higher score on the negative urgency dimension) and low self-esteem.
The rate of ADHD found among patients with GD is consistent with that from the literature on internet GD but higher than that found for other behavioural addictions. The identification of a higher negative urgency score and low self-esteem as predictive factors of AHDH-GD comorbidity indicates that gaming could be considered a dysfunctional way to cope with emotional dysregulation in ADHD or to virtually escape.
Comorbid ADHD must be taken into consideration to minimize its functional impact on GD patients and gaming-related damage. In contrast, the evaluation of gaming habits in patients with ADHD could be useful for both prevention and care.
Gambling disorder-related illegal acts (GDRIA) are often crucial events for gamblers and/or their entourage. This study was designed to determine the predictive factors of GDRIA.
Participants were 372 gamblers reporting at least three DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association, 2000) criteria. They were assessed on the basis of sociodemographic characteristics, gambling-related characteristics, their personality profile, and psychiatric comorbidities. A multiple logistic regression was performed to identify the relevant predictors of GDRIA and their relative contribution to the prediction of the presence of GDRIA.
Multivariate analysis revealed a higher South Oaks Gambling Scale score, comorbid addictive disorders, and a lower level of income as GDRIA predictors.
Discussion and conclusion
An original finding of this study was that the comorbid addictive disorder effect might be mediated by a disinhibiting effect of stimulant substances on GDRIA. Further studies are necessary to replicate these results, especially in a longitudinal design, and to explore specific therapeutic interventions.